Gustavo Contreras/Staff Writer
Tuesday April 21st marked the deadliest coronavirus day recorded so far in the United States. Just a day later, Governor Ron DeSantis held an audio meeting for opening procedures with the “Re-Open Florida Task Force.”
We were doing well, here in Florida. We had flattened the curve and were said to have already passed our peak. Still, projections made on March 31st estimated a loss of 100,000 to 240,000 American lives this year with social distancing and business closure in mind. To put that into perspective, we are still projected to lose more American lives than in the Vietnam War in 2020, with proper practices in motion—and that’s the best case scenario.
“But the coronavirus is just like the flu,” one might argue—the only difference being that in just three months, COVID-19 has already surpassed last year’s seasonal flu death toll.
I understand the counter-argument about the abundant American land and its population, but here’s the issue: when Italy had 9,172 confirmed cases, massive reports led to the country mandating a lockdown. But today, at a comparable size to Italy’s, Miami-Dade County is sitting at 10,153 confirmed cases and we plan on reopening the state.
And these are just confirmed cases, since only 1% of Floridians have been tested so far. Harvard researchers predict that we need three times the testing we have now to take place before re-opening the United States. Knowledge is power, and there are too many severe recent events to claim it is safe enough to open Florida.
We students are not the main demographic of coronavirus deaths, but we still do not know enough about the condition and its effects to re-open the country. Only this week on April 23rd, was it reported that young adults with the coronavirus have higher chances of getting strokes. So, while we do not necessarily flatline, this does not mean we entirely avoid critical conditions such as strokes and permanent lung damage. We might survive, but to a small portion of us, breathing normally may never be the same again.
Of course, it’s impossible to ignore the economy when talking about reopening Florida and maintaining the bills is emergent, so we will eventually have to return to work. But it seems bewildering that the government’s response to its citizens’ needs is not to directly aid them, but to release the lockdown and tell citizens to just avoid getting infected.
Most students (claimed dependents) did not receive a stimulus check from the government, so we have to work when Florida opens. Future government aid can include the recent corona legislation that is working on treating uninsured patients, and that’s a step forward. If we promote a nation-backed coronavirus treatment, it can encourage people to go back to work and boost the economy.
Our state has been progressing with social distancing and safety measures, but we still need a bit more time to flatten the curve and become stable. Our elders are still in danger. And to our students, as American poet Aja Monet said, “may they never know caskets before gray hair and wrinkled skin.”
Featured image by FIU Flickr.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Have questions or comments for our writers? Send an email to email@example.com with your name and the name of the column in the subject line.